White Chicken Lasagna
This White Chicken Lasagna is layered with a creamy spinach white sauce and baked until tender and golden brown. This easy chicken lasagna recipe utilizes store-bought rotisserie chicken and is a delicious make-ahead meal!
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- 15 lasagna noodles (not no-boil, regular curly edge noodles)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups whole milk (can substitute half and half for a richer result)
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons dried basil divided
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano divided
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme divided
- 3 cups loosely packed roughly chopped fresh baby spinach (just run your knife threw the pile a few times)
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese part-skim or whole
- ½ cup sour cream light or regular
- 1 large egg
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups cooked shredded chicken breast (rotisserie chicken works great)
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese part-skim or whole, divided
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- fresh Italian parsley or basil for garnish optional
Bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and the lasagna noodles. Cook for the amount of time indicated on the package for al dente. Rinse the cooked noodles with cool water until cool enough to handle. Drain well and transfer them to a large sheet of foil to prevent them from sticking together.
Spinach White Sauce
In a large skillet, melt the butter with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over MEDIUM heat until melted. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Sprinkle the flour over the top and whisk until well incorporated. Slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth. Slowly add the chicken broth, whisking as you add it. Season with 1 teaspoon basil, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon thyme, and ½ teaspoon salt. Increase the heat, if needed, to bring it to the point of a low simmer (don’t boil). Continue to cook, whisking occasionally, for about 3 minutes or until thickened. It should be thickened, but pourable - similar to marinara sauce consistency. Remove from the heat and add the spinach, mixing to incorporate it with the sauce just until it wilts. Set aside.If sauce thickens more than you’d like while resting, add additional whole milk to thin it, as desired.
Chicken Ricotta Mixture
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, sour cream, egg, chicken, remaining 1 teaspoon basil, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon thyme, ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper and mix until smooth. Fold in ½ cup of the mozzarella (reserve remaining for layers) and all of the Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
Assemble the Lasagna
Set the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spoon about ½ cup of the spinach white sauce into a 13- x 9-inch baking dish and spread it out across the bottom. It won’t be a thick layer, just enough to barely cover the bottom of the dish.
Layer #1 - Lay 3 of the lasagna noodles over the sauce, edge to edge. Spoon half of the chicken ricotta mixture over the noodles.
Layer # 2 - Lay 3 lasagna noodles over the chicken ricotta mixture. Spoon ⅓ of the spinach white sauce on to the noodles and use a spoon to spread it out (light layer). Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella over the sauce.
Layer #3 - Add 3 lasagna noodles and top with remaining half of the chicken ricotta mixture.
Layers #4 and #5 - Lay 3 cooked lasagna noodles over the chicken ricotta mixture. Spoon ⅓ of the remaining spinach white sauce over the noodles and spread it out. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella over the top. This is repeated once more for the 5th and final layer, ending with all of the remaining spinach white sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Bake the Lasagna
Coat the underside of a large sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray and place it, coated side down, over the lasagna, lightly crimping the edges.
Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Set the oven to BROIL and cook until the top is just lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes (rotate the baking dish, if needed, for even browning).
Let lasagna rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Can garnish with torn fresh basil, if desired.
Nutrition information was calculated using whole milk, part-skim ricotta and mozzarella and light sour cream.
Freezing Unbaked White Chicken Lasagna
- Assemble the lasagna and cover it with foil, as directed. Refrigerate overnight.
- Bake the lasagna, allowing up to an additional 20 to 30 minutes of extra baking time if it is very cold when going in the oven.
Freezing Baked White Chicken Lasagna
- Assemble the lasagna as directed in a freezer-safe dish.
- Wrap the dish in two layers of heavy duty foil. If using regular foil, wrap in 3 layers.
- Label the foil with the date and contents and freeze for up to 4 months.
- Thaw the chicken lasagna completely in the refrigerator for 36 to 48 hours. When ready to bake, remove the foil. Coat the underside of one of the sheets of foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover the dish, coated side down, crimping the edges. Bake as directed, allowing about 20 to 30 minutes of extra baking time to ensure it will be heated through.
- Assemble and bake the lasagna in a freezer-safe dish, as directed.
- Allow it to cool on the counter until the baking dish is cool to the touch. Wrap the dish with a fresh piece of foil and refrigerate until completely cooled.
- Follow the directions above for wrapping, freezing, thawing, and baking the lasagna. Allow an extra 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time to ensure it will be heated through.
Calories: 457kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 818mg | Potassium: 396mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1245IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 521mg | Iron: 2mg